Right in the middle of the debate between the five Federal party leaders last night we got a call from a polling firm wanting to know what we thought about the leaders, what we thought were the issues, and how we rated the local candidates. It is the second time in a lifetime of political action that we’ve been polled, and I was delighted to give the NDP, Jack Layton and our local MP Thomas Mulcair full marks. In so far as the poll is large enough, my comments will be lost among the others polled, but they aren’t going to hurt in an election where a lot of people are considering strategic voting. A winning non-Conservative candidate is what a lot of voters are looking for, whatever their nominal political allegiance.
The strategic vote in Outremont should definitely go to Mulcair and the NDP. Over the last three weeks I’ve made a lot of calls for Mulcair, and it’s clear the support he had a year ago when he won a by election is holding. There’s some fall off among Bloc supporters who voted for him to keep out the Liberals, but my guess that’s not going to make much difference. Last week a poll for La Presse gave him a 10 point lead over the Liberal Sébastien Dhavernas, 37 per cent to 27 per cent.
Of course you may ask why I answered the telephone when I should have been glued to the television watching the debate. Well, there’s only so much political discourse one can take, particularly when one has a good idea of the principles and policies each leader champions, so I retreated after 15 minutes to get some work done for my book talks next week.
The same logic will apply tonight for the English language debate and the one between the two vice-presidential candidates in the US. Besides we’ll be celebrating the launch of my friend Ann Charney’s new novel Distantly Related to Freud (Cormorant Books.) The party runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Nicolas Hoare Books, 1366 Green Avenue, Westmount. Should be a lot more fun…